This week we meet Luke de Noronha, lecturer and programme director at the Sarah Parker Remond Centre. Luke is currently on research leave in Kingston, Jamaica, and chats to us here about what he’ll be researching (and eating) in the country...
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am a lecturer at the Sarah Parker Remond Centre in the Institute of Advanced Studies. The Centre was established in 2019 in response to student-led demands for the transformation of the curriculum and a reparative reckoning with the powerful, but often unacknowledged, colonial and imperial histories of our university, our city and our nation. I am the programme director for our MA in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies, which is in its second year. The Centre also has a growing band of PhD students, postgraduate researchers, and activists-in-residence, and we host lots of events and a podcast.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I joined UCL in January 2021. Before that, I was doing a postdoc and writing up book projects.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
Being part of setting up and building the Sarah Parker Remond Centre, including our interdisciplinary MA and the racism and racialisation PhD group (which is open to students across UCL!). It has been extremely rewarding to work at the beginning of something like this.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I am currently in Kingston, Jamaica, on research leave for nine months. I am interested in the Jamaican government’s rollout of a digital national ID scheme (NIDS). What problems does such a scheme promise to alleviate? Why are the World Bank so concerned with digital ID, and what does it have to do with development? And how is national identification implicated in the regulation of unruly human mobilities? These are all questions I will be puzzling over for the next few months (but I just landed, so for the moment I’m mainly eating mangoes).
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
It’s improper for an academic to too easily name one favourite in these categories, so I’ll focus on the recent. I lived in Newham for the first few months of 2023, and so I had Kano’s Hoodies All Summer on repeat when on the tube and DLR. I watched three films on the plane here, all bad... the most entertaining was Bullet Train. I am currently reading Marlon James’ The Book of Night Women. I am only a part way in, but it’s brilliant.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I have forgotten every joke I’ve ever heard.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Michael Holding, Michael Atherton, Mohammed Rizwan, and the guy from the blind boy podcast (assuming he is ok to talk cricket or serve drinks).
What advice would you give your younger self?
I don’t mess about with fate or time travel... so I’d stay quiet.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I was a maths and science person at school.
What is your favourite place?
The approach to junction 1 of the M60, when the great blue pyramid of Stockport enters view, and I know I am nearly home.
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